The Prime Minister of Italy, Mario Draghi, had a telephone conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin this morning – explain sources from Palazzo Chigi. At the center of the talks were the latest developments in the Ukrainian crisis and bilateral relations. Draghi stressed the importance of working towards a de-escalation of tensions in light of the serious consequences that an aggravation of the crisis would have. A common commitment was agreed for a sustainable and lasting solution to the crisis and the need to rebuild a climate of trust. Putin confirmed Moscow’s intention to “continue to support stable gas supplies to Italy”
Putin: Kiev systematically violates human rights
Human rights violations in Ukraine have become systematic, the Russian president denounced after his meeting today in Moscow with Orban. “Of course, the issue of resolving the Ukrainian conflict was discussed,” Putin said at a press conference, “and the situation in Ukraine as a whole, including in the field of human rights, the violation of which has become systematic there.” Putin then reported that the issue of relations between Russia and the European Union was also touched upon during the conversation with Orban. Ignoring our concerns, the United States and NATO have reaffirmed the right of countries to freely choose their security. It is not just a question of ensuring this freedom. This right is only part of the equation of the indivisibility of security. The second part says that you cannot strengthen your own security at the expense of that of other countries, ”Putin summed up. The requests made by Russia, Putin explained, are a halt to the expansion of NATO, the deployment of weapons near the Russian borders and the withdrawal of NATO infrastructure to the situation of 1997. Putin would have explained.
“The US and its allies ignored Moscow’s requests”
The United States and allies ignored Russia’s security demands, Putin said. In his first comments for over a month, Putin said the Kremlin is still studying the US and NATO response to the security-related demands presented by Moscow. It is clear, he added, that the West has ignored the demand that NATO not expand into Ukraine and other former Soviet nations, that it does not deploy offensive weapons near Russian borders, that it retreat into Western Europe. Putin said the US and allies’ rejection violates security obligations under the OSCE framework.
Putin: “If Ukraine joins NATO there is a risk of war”
“It is written in the doctrinal documents of Ukraine itself that they intend to take back Crimea, even with military means,” said Putin. “Let’s imagine that Ukraine becomes a member of NATO, stuffed with weapons, with modern attack systems, as in Poland and Romania, and begins an operation in Crimea,” Putin speculated. “Should we go to war with the NATO bloc? Has anyone ever thought about it? I do not think so”.
“The dialogue continues, Macron comes to Moscow soon”
Putin then hoped for a visit by his French counterpart, Emmanuel Macron, to Moscow in order to be able to discuss the Russian proposals on security guarantees presented to NATO and the US. «I hope this dialogue continues. We agreed yesterday with the President of France that he come to Moscow in the near future and we will discuss these problems with him. I hope we will eventually find a solution. Even if it’s not easy. We are aware of that,” he added.
Boris Johnson in Kiev, tomorrow talks with Putin
Meanwhile, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson flew to Kiev to show support for Ukraine as Russia amasses forces at the borders. “An attack by Russia against Ukraine would be a political, humanitarian and military disaster,” said the premier in a press conference with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. “It is essential that Russia choose the path of diplomacy and I believe it is still possible”, added Johnson, “Russia takes a step back and engages in diplomacy.” Together with other countries, in the meantime, the United Kingdom is “preparing a package of sanctions and other measures to be implemented when the first Russian soldier crosses Ukrainian territory again”. According to Johnson, Russian President Vladimir Putin is “pointing a gun” at the head of Ukraine and is trying to “undermine the immense achievements” of previous decades and “redraw the security map of Europe”, there is a ” clear and very present danger “. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky explained that a war between Ukraine and Russia would be a “European war in all respects, a real war”. Bojo announced that he will have a direct interview with Putin tomorrow.
The presence of Russian troops near Ukraine is a “clear and present danger for Johnson. We see a large number of troops massed, we see preparations for all kinds of operations consistent with an imminent military campaign».
Čaputova: Russia is also a threat to Slovakia
Slovak President Zuzana Čaputova argues that Russia’s security demands are not limited to Ukraine but also threaten post-Communist countries, including Slovakia. Moscow, she says, must not decide the fate of other countries. “Russia is demanding that former Communist states that are already members of NATO, such as Slovakia, renounce their right to accept aid from allies,” Čaputova said today. Strengthening the eastern wing of NATO is also in the interest of Bratislava, you stressed. In recent days, NATO has also been considering sending new troops to Slovakia. According to Čaputova, the fact that Slovakia is not currently in Moscow’s sights does not mean that she will not feel the potential conflict in Ukraine and that her freedom is not potentially threatened. “Slovakia has never had the freedom to decide its own fate in the past, a freedom it has thanks to its membership in NATO and the EU,” said Čaputova, adding that Bratislava cannot afford to act as a weak link in the eastern flank of the alliance.
Non-Resident Fellow of The Foreign Policy Council